Written by Tanya Terry
Alice “D” (Delaine) Evans, known simply as Alice D., is now a 67-year-old on-air staff announcer at WFLT AM 1420. She first became interested in a career in radio at age 9. Remarkably, she used to call WFLT, which was then known as WAMM, to get to know the announcers, asking what type of classes she would need to pursue a career in broadcasting. She even used to also pretend she was a broadcaster at a very young age.
In Evans’ early years, she was a client of the Commission for the Blind. Evans said she was told she would not even find a job in radio. At the time, there were not many female announcers. Determined to make her dream a reality, Evans became the first totally blind Black graduate from the Telecommunications Department at Michigan State University.
Evans said being Black, being female and being blind were all perceived by others as obstacles for her.
“Nobody wanted to touch anyone with one, two or three of those things going on in their lives,” she said.
But Evans showed she was a fighter.
“It takes me twice as long to do what I have to do because I have so many things I’m responsible for, and it has to be in a format that sighted people can read,” she said. “They don’t think about me and the Braille, but I have to make sure they can read it because I’m the only one with a visual challenge on the staff.”
Evans has also being singing since she was 12 years old.
“For years we had a broadcast called the Hour of Power with Bishop Raymond H. Dunlap, who passed away in September. When he finally accepted me as his co-host, a lot of times he’d be late and I’d just sing a little snippet of a song.”
Despite mixed reactions to this which Evans remembers, her singing became part of the broadcast.
Sometimes Evans is still lead to sing or is asked to sing by a grieving family or a person who is sick and in the hospital.
She said her long time interest in singing has helped her broadcasting career overall.
To outsiders, she seemed to be consistently climbing the ladder to success nearly from day one.
Evans did an internship at WFBE in the old Central High School basement, she did a summer series called Soul Spotlight in college and she did a local broadcast with Sharon Reigl, who also died this year, to encourage people with disabilities.
Her first professional radio job was at what is now KISS 107.1, formerly known as WTLZ and WWS 107.1 FM. She then went on to become one of the original announcers with WDZZ, where she didn’t get to stay long.
“That was very painful.”
Evans stayed off the air for a year and a half. Then, she was approached by the late Neal Mason to work at WFLT and was told she won a survey to get the position. She is thankful Mason gave her the opportunity to be on the radio again.
Evans now not only works on the air, but teaches others how to do so.
She said she is “supposed to be” writing a book about her experiences, which she hasn’t started. She said God has even given her a name for it: “Living My Dream.”
“Living my dream despite adversity, despite how people feel about me…I always say this, if you don’t like me, you’ve at least got to respect me for what I do.”
Evans offers words of encouragement, especially to young people.
“You’ve got to have the persistence because people tell you ‘no’ and you know you can. You’ve got to prove them wrong and get them to say ‘yes’…Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do it. I want to see young people in my field who want to make a difference within the Christian community.”